Defining Gender Categories

A debate is brewing in the American Sociological Association over the set of categories the group should use to collect gender identification information from its members. As Colleen Flaherty reports on Inside Higher Ed:

Question: How many sociologists does it take to develop a working set of gender categories?

Answer: A lot.

Of all professional organizations, one might expect the American Sociological Association to have generally accepted gender categories on its membership form. But some in the association have accused it of being behind the terminological curve, and coming up with a better set of categories is revealing – to some – a surprising lack of consensus on the matter.

Tina Fetner, associate professor of sociology at McMaster University in Ontario and new member of the ASA Council, has taken the question to the blogosphere. In recent posts to Social (In)Queery and Scatterplot, she wrote: “The ASA is trying to respond to a request from its members to expand the options for gender on its membership form. Right now, the choices are female, male and prefer not to answer. There is no category that acknowledges transgender members at all, but creating a new category scheme is not as easy as it might seem.”

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed

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